Is Keyword Targeting What Businesses Need To Get More Out Of Twitter?

By: Chris Crum - April 21, 2013

Twitter may have gotten significantly more useful for businesses this week with the launch of keyword targeting for its ad platform. The company began rolling out the feature on Wednesday in all languages and markets where Twitter ads are supported.

Do you think the new targeting capability makes Twitter more valuable for businesses? Let us know in the comments.

With keyword targeting, advertisers can reach users based on words in their recent tweets and in tweets with which they’ve recently engaged.

“This is an important new capability – especially for those advertisers looking for signals of intent – because it lets marketers reach users at the right moment, in the right context,” says Twitter Revenue product manager Nipoon Malhotra. “For example: let’s say a user tweets about enjoying the latest album from their favorite band, and it so happens that band is due to play a concert at a local venue. That venue could now run a geotargeted campaign using keywords for that band with a Tweet containing a link to buy the tickets. That way, the user who tweeted about the new album may soon see that Promoted Tweet in their timeline letting them know tickets are for sale in their area.”

According to Twitter, users are more likely to engage with promoted tweets that take advantage of keyword targeting. The company ran tests with clients like GoPro, Everything Everywhere, Microsoft Japan and Walgreens, and found this to be the case.

“After testing keyword targeting in timeline across four marketing campaigns, GoPro saw close to two million impressions, and engagement rates as high as 11 percent on Tweets promoted using the new feature,” says Malhotra.

Twitter’s new offering has been drawing comparisons to search advertising. Peter Kafka at All Things D says it’s Twitter making its ad pitch “more Googley”. Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch also compares it to search.

In fact, even Malhotra plays the search card, saying, “Setting up a campaign to target keywords in the timeline is very similar to the setup process for search. Enter the keywords you want to target, choose whether you want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match, and specify your other targeting options such as geographic location, device and gender.”

As Kafka notes, however, some have been quick to point out that it’s not exactly like search in that the intent expressed in a tweet is hardly reflective of the intent of a search. Essentially, when you’re searching, you’re looking for something. When you’re tweeting, you’re simply saying something. Occasionally, that might be a signal of something you’re interested in buying, but how often?

The set-up process is about as easy as it could possibly be. You simply go to Twitter’s Advertisers page, log in, and follow the steps. Tell Twitter who you want to target, what you want to promote, how much you want to spend, and how you want to pay. That’s pretty much it.

Twitter Keyword targeting

Some are still skeptical about how effective the new feature will make Twitter for advertisers, but it certainly can’t hurt. The functionality is available in the full Twitter Ads user interface as well as through the Ads API.

What do you think? Does this make Twitter a better place to advertise? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • ty

    No, with or without keyword targeting, I seriously do not believe ANY social media advertising programs are intended to benefit ANY company other than theirs. I’m not saying it would not benefit other companies. I’m saying “the twits”, in my opinion, will benefit much more-(in-proportionately). “The twits” will spend “x” amount on coding a script which will AUTOMATICALLY (no human interaction, no additional time spent) charge us small businesses “x” amount to do the actual work. Once the script is in place, the only “work” left for “the twits” is to add up the profits! And to add insult to injury, the prices are most likely astronomical (comparing cost to benefit). It’s my opinion that “the twits” would NEVER use a “level playing field” simply because it doesn’t generate as much revenue. I certainly wouldn’t put my money in that “black hole”. I admit that my opinion is based on other social media sites but at the same time, I realize that they will all capitalize to the best of their ability, fair or unfair, biased or unbiased. I absolutely believe in capitalism; I capitalize, but I try, to the best of my ability, to be fair, unbiased, honest & reasonable. If it seems unfair to form an opinion on a site based on another, that’s just TOUGH DOOKEY for them because they all follow the same trend with slightly different structures. I would never have left ANY comment if I believed there were equal value in social media advertising (any site, especially search engines) for small business. Seems to me, it would be more beneficial to start with a good reputation & maintain it rather than having to go back to try to recover it. —- Ty

  • Malrene

    I think that the target keyword recognition is awesome for the Twitter followers… your ad can be monetized and reaching more fans! Great idea!

  • Nick Stamoulis

    “When you’re tweeting, you’re simply saying something. Occasionally, that might be a signal of something you’re interested in buying, but how often?”

    I think that is something companies have to seriously consider. For the most part, social is still not a platform for commerce (maybe with Pinterest being the exception). If someone isn’t looking to buy is your ad going to mean anything even if they do see it, or will the message fall on deaf ears?

  • Roye Okupe

    I am still a bit skeptical about this and have not mustere enough courage to try. I must say after reading this I am at least more inclined to “try”